Will Rothhaar tackles the task of playing one of history’s most reviled characters, Lee Harvey Oswald, in the upcoming TV movie, “Killing Kennedy,” and the actor hopes his work will help shed light on the assassin’s veiled humanity.
“He’s always been vilified in this really huge way. He’s always been two-dimensional,” Will told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover on Thursday’s Access Hollywood Live. “[My] goal with playing him was to show the human side of him, because nobody sees that.”
While Will hopes audiences gain insight into the man who shot JFK, he said the film isn’t pro-Oswald.
“We want you to walk away with maybe not like an overwhelming sense of compassion, but you might look at him and be like, ‘I get it,’” he explained.
Will was surprised to discover that the sniper, who was in turn fatally shot two days after shooting the President, seemed to have been extremely intelligent.
“I was surprised to find how bright he was. He was definitely quiet, he kept to himself, but he was a clever kid,” Will said, when asked what surprised him most about Oswald. “Very opinionated… and he was great with kids. Great with his own kids and great with kids around the neighborhood.”
As for what the actor believes to have motivated Oswald to commit the assassination, Will said he thinks he was seeking recognition.
“He grew up in an environment where nobody paid attention to him. He was always the loner,” Will said. “At the end of the day, I think his reason behind [the assassination] wasn’t because of Kennedy, it was just because he wanted somebody to pay attention to him for once.”
“Killing Kennedy,” which also stars Ginnifer Goodwin, Rob Lowe and Michelle Trachtenberg, premieres Sunday, November 10 at 8 PM on National Geographic.